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Iraq militants threaten other countries: Obama

Published on Jun 23, 2014 12:05 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama has warned that extremist militants who have surged through Iraq in a lightning and brutal offensive could also destabilise other countries in the volatile region.

The jihadist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is rampaging towards the capital Baghdad in its bid to create an Islamic state that will incorporate both Iraq and Syria.

But Mr Obama, who has ruled out putting US combat troops once again on the ground in Iraq, says he fears the militants could have an even more widespread impact, while also warning that "their extreme ideology poses a medium and long-term threat" to the United States.

"We're going to have to be vigilant generally. Right now the problem with ISIS is the fact that they're destabilising the country (Iraq)," he said in an interview aired Sunday on CBS television's "Face the Nation".

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